Do You Want the Bad News First

(Today's post by Chris Queen)

Jeremiah 14-15

We’ve all heard it before (then again, we’ve all said it before): “I’ve got good news, and I’ve got bad news.” When someone says it to us, we tend to want to hear the bad news first, usually because we want the good news last. Of course, the good news often doesn’t make sense without the bad news.

We see this bad news/good news scenario played out throughout the prophecies of Jeremiah. The prophet reveals God’s plans for judgment on the people of Israel and Judah who have turned their backs on Him.

In chapter 14, Jeremiah shares the fate that awaits the Israelites as a result of their sins:

10 This is what the Lord says about this people: “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the Lord does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.”

11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for the well-being of this people. 12 Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague.”

God went on to tell Jeremiah that other prophets told lies in God’s name, telling the people of Israel and Judah that God would not enact judgment on the people. It’s a pretty harsh statement that God didn’t want Jeremiah to even pray for the Israelites, but that’s how far gone they were in their sins.

After delivering yet another harsh message to Israel and Judah, Jeremiah suffers a crisis of self-confidence in chapter 15. But here’s where the good news comes in. God promises good things for Jeremiah:

11 The Lord said, “Surely I will deliver you for a good purpose; surely I will make your enemies plead with you in times of disaster and times of distress.

[…]

19 Therefore this is what the Lord says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me;if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you,but you must not turn to them. 20 I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze;they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,”declares the Lord.

Know what? That’s not just a promise for Jeremiah. God’s promise here has universal implications. If we repent, He restores us. He is with us to rescue and save us.

We all would rather hear good news than bad news. The good news of restoration and salvation is infinitely better than the bad news of judgment for sin. If you have experienced this good news, celebrate it! If you haven’t, you still can. Reach out to any one of us here at The New Normal, or speak to someone you trust who is a believer in Jesus. It’s a choice you won’t regret.

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